The hubby of one of Queensland’s most polarising politicians has had a bitter falling out with a long-time business partner
The hubby of one of Queensland’s most polarising politicians has had a bitter falling out with a long-time business partner

Trad’s hubby in legal shake-up

The hubby of one of Queensland's most polarising politicians has had a bitter falling out with a long-time business partner.

Damien van Brunschot, better half to MP and former Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, took on the role of acting managing director of law firm DWF (Australia) this month.

He's filling the seat held by his legal partner of 12 years, Jamie McPherson, who had been in the position since late 2017 and has now left the firm.

McPherson declined to comment when City Beat rang for a chat this week, telling us he was on "gardening leave'' and had just returned from a week in the Whitsundays.

But our spies report that McPherson was asked to stand aside by the firm's London head office for reasons unknown after fielding complaints from key players in the Brisbane outpost.

One source described his exit as akin to a "political coup" which had left staff "shocked and pretty upset''.

Jackie Trad with husband Damien van Brunschot
Jackie Trad with husband Damien van Brunschot

Van Brunschot and McPherson first joined forces under the banner of MVM Legal back in 2008 focused on insurance, industrial relations and occupational health and safety, as well as construction, hospitality and real estate.

The pair later traded as Kaden Boriss before merging three years ago with DWF, one of the world's biggest law firms.

The alliance saw about 40 people, including six partners and 20 associates based in Brisbane and Melbourne, team up with DWF.

Van Brunschot, of course, has been in the news for other reasons of late, most notably his role in buying a $700,000 investment property in Woolloongabba last year.

Trad's failure to properly declare the house, based near a Cross River Rail station she had responsibility for at the time, lead to her fall from grace.

Jamie McPherson
Jamie McPherson

DWF has also raised eyebrows over its ties to the state government.

It emerged last year that the firm earned just over $1m for work on the government's insurance fund. The fees related to DWF's time as a member of the state's Health Legal Services Panel since 2014.

We also learned last year that DWF was on a panel of legal practices used by state-owned power company CS Energy. Trad defended her failure to report that fact on her parliamentary register of interests because van Brunschot did not work on the account.

Van Brunschot did not return a call seeking comment on Wednesday.

A DWF spin doctor declined to say whether McPherson had been asked to stand down.

But she released a quote attributed to him, saying that "It was a privilege to lead the firm through the early stages of establishment and growth in Australia."

Mark Hickey, who chairs DWF's Asia Pacific wing, paid tribute to McPherson without addressing why he's no longer there.

"Jamie led the business from the outset in Australia through a period of rapid expansion which has included the opening of new offices, entry into new locations, a number of significant team hires, and the significant growth in revenue during his time in the role,'' Hickey said.

"He has been instrumental in the development of our relationships with domestic and global clients.''

BROKER BANNED

The corporate cop has slapped a 10-year ban on a Brisbane broker who previously served as "global treasurer'' of Flight Centre.

ASIC announced the move on Wednesday against Pullenvale resident David Moore, who joined BGC Securities in 2016 but departed earlier this year.

He served as an executive manager of BGC's fixed income arm which formerly traded as MINT Partners.

David Moore, formerly of BGC Securities
David Moore, formerly of BGC Securities

The regulator found that Moore breached a deal between BGC and a referring broker by charging unpermitted spreads on transactions and trading at prices other than that which was agreed.

ASIC also alleged he engaged in "misleading and deceptive" conduct and that he "attempted to take steps to conceal'' these actions. In addition, he allegedly altered records "that deceived clients and the referring broker''.

Moore, who could not be contacted, has the right to appeal.

BGC is a global brokerage business, with its Australian arm headquartered in Sydney. A message seeking comment went unreturned.

GOLDEN SUBSTITUTE

Gold achieved record high prices in August as investors flocked to the coveted yellow stuff as a safe haven during unstable times.

The shine (so to speak) has come off those prices somewhat since then but that hasn't stopped Brisbane entrepreneur David Lightfoot from coming up with a smart new way to acquire the ancient commodity.

He is part of a group leading new outfit Xbullion, which is somewhat like a fusion of a digital currency such as Bitcoin with the old school practice of buying real gold.

David Lightfoot
David Lightfoot

The business has dreamed up a "digital gold solution'' which allows for the buying, selling and storing of the precious metal without physically taking possession of it.

Given its weight and bulk, storing gold has always been a headache, a problem made worse by the pandemic. Xbullion allows clients to buy tokens which are redeemable anytime for cash or actual gold.

Joining Lightfoot in this ambitious venture is Kinsey Cotton, a Singapore-based young Rich Lister who heads Tibra Capital and YMF Investments, as well as Marcus Lim, who recently offloaded his stake in online marketplace One Flare.

MORE BEER

Another craft beer maker from down south aims to open a new venue in Brisbane.

Lost Palms Brewing, which only started life on the Gold Coast three years ago, is well advanced with plans to throw open the doors of a new taproom in Sherwood on October 15.

They follow in the footsteps of award-winning Stone & Wood, which launched a pub in Fortitude Valley last November, branching out from its base in Byron Bay.

Lost Palms manager Zak Nalder told City Beat this week that he and his team settled on Sherwood after concluding the area lacked any similar kind of offering.

They'll be moving into a space on the high street that was formally occupied by an Asian restaurant, which closed during the lockdown and then failed to re-open.

Speaking of brewing, Scottish craft beer giant BrewDog has finally started churning out the amber liquid from its Brisbane base at Murarrie. They opened in November last year but it's taken a while to get things going.

Originally published as Trad's hubby in legal shake-up


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